The Atlanta Braves dropped their third straight spring game, 9-2 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, at the Pirates’ spring complex in Bradenton, Florida.
Despite the loss, there were encouraging performances by starter Julio Teheran, and up and coming lefty, Sean Gilmartin. Teheran pitched two hitless innings while walking one and striking out two. Gilmartin took over in the third inning and gave up only one hit, while striking out two, in his two innings of work.
Teheran was expected to challenge for the fifth spot in the Braves’ rotation last season, but never got it going in the spring, as he was bombed for an ERA over nine. So seeing him go out there today in his first spring performance, and perform well, is very encouraging.
Unlike Hudson, Medlen, Maholm and Minor, the other four starters in the Braves rotation, Teheran is a power pitcher that can crank it up into the mid 90s. Since early in his Braves’ career he has been projected to be a top of the rotation pitcher, perhaps with star or even superstar potential.
A disappointing 2012 season at Gwinnett, and rumors of tinkering with his mechanics last season, have left many wondering just what exactly the Braves will get out of Teheran in 2013. Perhaps this initial spring performance will give him the confidence he needs to move forward, as he gets ready to assume his spot as the Braves’ number five starter.
But not so fast…Gilmartin is Teheran’s main competition for the Braves number five-spot in the rotation, and he was equally impressive today against the Pirates. Perhaps the competition will push both pitchers this spring, so that the one who wins the fifth spot in the rotation, is at peak effectiveness when the regular season opens.